Hearing an album on vinyl for the first time after you’ve heard the CD/digital

Anyone done this? I abandoned vinyl quickly after CDs became available. I don’t have much nostalgia for the vinyl era except for the cover art and extras included. My eyesight sucks so reading CD lyrics has always been hard.

Anyway, I’ve got a friend that’s all into the vinyl Renaissance. Post Covid, we’re gonna hang out again and it thought it would be fun to hear some albums that I only know from the CD era. Anyone really noticed most of a difference when you’ve only heard it digitally through CD or streaming?

Or, is the vinyl renaissance half nostalgia for older folks and half hipsters?

If you still have the hearing range and the vinyl is in good shape it really can be a nicer sound. Especially true when the first Led Zeppelin CDs were sold and the engineers were lazy. Vinyl captured a better range and the full sound. The Remastered CDs though for Led Zep and other groups sounds great.

Since that time my hearing has deteriorated enough where I can’t tell the difference between good vinyl and CD and MP3.

I used to know an audio snob who would have told you not to bother if you didn’t use a vacuum tube amplifier.

I knew those guys too. They were probably right but my hearing was never that good.

I always thought a double blind test should have been run.
My money would be on no discernible difference.

It’s just nostalgia (and probably old ears). And maybe a bit of confirmation bias thrown in.

My CDs don’t have pops, crackles and skips, and I don’t have to discwash and zerostat and light a candle to the vinyl gods everytime I want to hear a song. That alone makes CDs better.

Ah, but true hipster Millennials (like my kids), who never experienced vinyl the first time around, just LOVE the crackles and surface noise… that’s what says “Authentic Oldie Music” to them.

And I’ve got to admit, if I can get into their mindframe where I’m not going for pristine reproduction, but for recapturing that feeling of finding a Beatles LP in a hippie used record shop… then every click and pop are nostalgia…

(and I’ll conveniently forget how glad I was when well-mastered CDs came along, and I could quit taping a dime to the top of the “shell head”/cartridge of my turntable to keep Rubber Soul from skipping)

The “Jazz Records” episode of Everybody Loves Raymond.

Some people genuinely like the sound, even if a laboratory measuring device might tell you it is technically “worse”. (Your ears do not count as a laboratory measuring device in this instance.)

That’s through high-end equipment, anyway. Anyone listening to crappy MP3s or AAC through shitty earbuds does not even get a basis upon which to decide.

I have personally encountered a badly mastered CD version and a properly mastered vinyl version of the same album, so it happens, though I don’t know how often. That you will notice no matter how much you spent on an amplifier. Also they have to be mastered differently due to the limitations of each medium, so could sound a bit different anyway.

Kids these days. We fought a war to get good quality music. They don’t know what they have! 128Kbs MP3 and they think they are qualified to judge what is “good quality”. BAH! I have an audio file that is just the pops and crackles off an entire album - i can sell it to them if they want, for that true oldie music experience.

I got my first CD player in my early 20s, so I had plenty of experience listening to music on vinyl, and I remember being astonished at the improved dynamic range I could hear on CD. Especially with new music that was recorded digitally-- a lot of older albums that were rushed out on CD from unremixed analog masters sounded muddy and probably worse than the LP versions. But digitally recorded music was ear candy to listen to with a decent pair of headphones. And then there were certain ‘special edition’ remixes from the original analog masters that sounded fantastic-- like ‘Dark Side of the Moon’. I remember thinking “so that’s what the album is supposed to sound like!”

So I was surprised when the backlash against CDs began and people started saying vinyl sounded better…more ‘warm’ or something. It’s possible I just never had a good quality turntable, and the sound from a very high end turntable would beat the sound of a decent CD player. But for 23-24 year old me, switching to CDs was a game-changer.

Well, I did have a high end turntable. It was awesome. And still I prefer CDs.

Thre are certain examples, like Zeppelin The Song Remains the Same Live LP, that NEVER sounded good on vinyl. Because of the compression required to get 30 minutes in a side, it sounded crappy right out of the shrinkwrap. CDs made it listenable.

And don’t get me started on rumble and low frequency resonance on bass-heavy albums.

There’s no question that CDs and digital formats have a greater fidelity and fewer physical limitations on dynamic range and other factors than vinyl - all else being equal they sound better by any objective measure of “sound better.” If you prefer LPs fine but any reason you give beyond “subjective personal preference” is going to be easily debunked horseshit.

HOWEVER, it is also true, as alluded to in post #2, that the era of CD dominance greatly overlapped, for reasons indirectly caused by the rise of the CD, with the era of extremely low-skilled and bad-sounding production of recordings. If you bought an album on CD in 2003 and the recordings were remastered for a release in 2020 then the 2020 release is likely going to be better, even on LP.

Getting a high-quality digital remaster in 2020 would be the best option as it solves both problems.

A friend worked in a high-end audio store in the 70s/80s while working on his PhD. Jacques Cousteau came in to buy an audio set-up for his home, and was looking at some very expensive components. My friend pointed out to Mr Cousteau that at his age he didn’t need such expensive gear, since his hearing wasn’t able to appreciate the difference.

Cousteau was livid, my friend got fired.

Isn’t that just it though?

I’m no audiophile, but everything I’ve ever read has seemed to me that IF the planets align, you have a super-quality vinyl record, and all your components are just-so (tube amp, super-duper turntable, etc…), the right speakers, AND your ears are totally ok, then just maybe it’ll make a difference that you can hear. Kind of like how cycling weight-weenies worry about 10 grams here and there, which only probably matters if you are Miguel Indurain. The rest of us could just take a dump before a ride and shed more weight than a titanium bottle cage buys you.

Count me in the group that says that CDs were a game-changer back in the late 80s, especially when comparing all-analog records to all-digital CDs. The interim stuff like the AAD/DAD/ADD were much more of a crapshoot, as the only guaranteed digital part was the final mastering. But in general, CDs just sounded better all-around. Better with the home stereo set, better in cars, better in Walkmen, etc…

And still do for the most part, vs compressed formats like MP3 or AAC. The big win for those formats was size; a CD can hold about 700-ish megabytes/80 minutes of sound, while that same 700 mb can conservatively hold on the order of 70 songs @ 10 mb each/350 minutes of sound.

CD players should have a button labeled “vinyl.” When you click it an electronic filter would be applied that adds the “vinyl sound” to the output. How is this not a thing?

That is a really good idea actually but as CD players are rapidly disappearing now, maybe add that to our Phones and mp3 players.

Yeah - same here. Through college, my roommate and I were constantly upgrading and combining our gear. My Thorens was a distant second to his Denon. But I was astounded at some of the things I heard for the first time when listening to CDs. Of course, you can’t spin the CDs backwards to hear the satanic messages - or Buck Dharma playing ping pong!

There is a limit, tho. I participate in an upright bass community. Quite often, folk will post files warning folk not to dare listening on their computer speakers. :wink:

Of course. Pre coffee brain muddle. Such a filter should be available on any electronic playback tool.

That’s what spound studio (and similar programs) is for. Now I’ve heard all the messages that used to confound me, and never had to risk breaking the stylus off!

The music is reversible but time is not. Turn back. Turn back!